, feel free to be more confident; afaik, you have pretty much (and pretty well) covered the most common solutions to this problem.
, what I am concerned about is the most likely reason this has happened in the first place.
If Windows was correctly detected and added to the bootloader, it should (obviously) boot when selected. On the occasions where it does not (and I have seen this happen often to forum posters), a STOP error is even more abnormal than it not working in the first place (what 90% of posters experience is a black screen with a blinking cursor prompt. In fact, I have never heard of a STOP error under these circumstances).
Now the thing about a STOP error is that it means that a critical Windows file has been erased, so critical that Windows can completely not boot (not that something is preventing the boot process from completing; the system is incapable of booting
). This could be anything from the NT kernel to the Marlett font (which is critical because Marlett provides the images on the Maximize, Minimize and Close buttons on every window).
But what I suspect it might be is an issue that often occurs with off-the-shelf PCs... the hidden system restore partition.
I don't know if Dell does this, certainly Compaq and HP usually do, but rather than providing you the actual CDs for the software that came pre-installed (including Windows), there is a hidden partition created at the front of the first HDD which contains compressed images of all the software that came preinstalled (including Windows). The information on this partition is called from any System Restore CD or floppy that one may have received (in lieu of a box of 25 application CDs) and used to restore the system to its default factory settings at need.
If you have such a partition on your drive, it is 1) hidden and 2) at the front of the drive and may well 3) be hooked to or otherwise associated with the MBR, which is normally hidden at the front of the drive.
Erasing/Overwriting the MBR with GRUB may very well have "broken the connection" to this hidden partition, which naturally XP would consider essential, thus producing a STOP error.
I can't think of anything else that installing Linux on a completely other drive could hurt in Windows that would produce such an error.
And I can't think of any way to fix it except to reinstall Windows, then install GRUB to a floppy...oh crap
-- you don't have
a floppy drive.... OK, then reinstall Windows, (or try FIXMBR
, but I wouldn't bet on that with a STOP error), then boot into Linux with the 1st install CD in "Rescue" mode, and reinstall GRUB to the root Linux partition, instead of the MBR, then either 1) transfer the Linux boot sector to the Windows boot sector and add Linux to the Windows boot menu (Google for the HOW-TO's, I can't do it right now) or 2) get a third-party bootloader such as Boot Magic (if you have Partition Magic installed, Boot Magic comes with it, otherwise it's commercial software), or check here
for a list of free and commercial boot managers for Windows, and use that to boot both Windows and Linux.
Naturally this whole theory relies on your confirmation that you do have such a hidden system restore partition installed by Dell, but hopefully this will help if that is the case.